It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I'm a Work in Progress: Work, School, & All That Jazz

I work for a non-profit organization that has 5 different locations. I currently work 2 days at 1 location and I'm on call a third evening a week at another which is much closer to my house. Between all of our locations we're open 6 days a week, but the most any one center is open is 4 days. I heard through the rumor mill that my location would be getting a grant to expand and offer more services, and we would be open more days. Yesterday it was confirmed by our executive director that my location would be open 7 days a week, meaning that current employees should be getting more hours and maybe some on call employees from other centers would get permanent hours. Although he wouldn't say anything specific other then that the expansion will begin in February.

This is really exciting news as another shift means a 50% pay increase which will allow me to be more financially independent, feel more like an adult. They're also the perfect hours for me. I don't have to be at work until 1pm, don't have to leave until 11:45am (to get somewhere 30mins away, paratransit, ARGH!), so I have my alarm set for 10am. It gives me an "excuse" for my chronic fatigue to not be perceived as laziness. "I'm never up that early, I work off hours."

I've also for the last 7.5 years wondered how I'm supposed to work enough to be completely financially independent and still have time to do the things that will keep me mentally and physically able to work. Right now I work Fri/Sat. If I can manage to work Thurs/Fri/Sat or Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun this would allow me three weekdays for horseback riding, massage appointments, shrink appointments, and personal trainer time AND allow me to pay for them. I also have some meetings related to long term care reform that are conveniently held on my off days. Working weekend afternoon/evenings -- MY DREAM JOB!

I wouldn't mind mornings if they weren't so early in the day!
The problem? I want to work & be more financially sufficient but I also want to go back to school and finish my degree. I can't imagine fitting horseback riding, massage appointments, shrink appointments, personal trainer time AND working 24-35hrs/week, plus keeping up with my advocacy work, even if I take 1 class. I can't see fitting in a class with my current schedule without it being a once a week class. Maybe I could fit in a Mon/Wednes late afternoon class or a Tues/Thurs morning class? But when would I have time to do my homework? Would I have to wake up at 7:30am everyday to study for 2 or 3hrs? Would I have to go to the gym from 8-9pm? Would I collapse from exhaustion from constantly running around and getting a 1hr sleep deficit everyday? Because then I physically wouldn't be able to read, study. So would I have to quit working when I decide to go back to school? Then how do I pay for my horseback riding lessons, massage appointments, shrink appointments, and personal trainer time -- the supports that will keep me in school?

Such are the dilemas of life...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It's the end of the year. My insurance has an out of pocket maximum, after which point you no longer have copays for visits of any sort or medications. I received a $13,000 powerchair at the end of April, and unlike last year when we met the cap in Dec, this year all of a sudden in the beginning of July my whole family got practically free healthcare. We still had to pay the monthly premium, but we all began thinking up ways to capitalize on this. I continued to go to physical therapy past the point where it was useful, because it was free and a trainer costs $. After 6 or 7 years of talking myself out of getting new AFOs, because most years I've worn them less then half a dozen times, so what's the point, I got casted for a new pair last week, just under the wire. I also decided to try out a new primary care physician, since it'd been 14mos since my last physical, even though the plan had been to wait until April. I also managed by fate to get my annual follow up with my physiatrist moved from January to December.

Oddly both of those appointments, although not originally scheduled this way, ended up being yesterday. I really like my new primary care physician (PC), and even though I never plan on seeing her because I am the healthiest person I know, it's nice to know that I found someone I am comfortable with. Although I noticed slight judgement in her voice. If both of those appointments hadn't ended up on the same day I wouldn't have noticed the same judgement from my physiatrist, whom I have seen just over half my life.

PC doc who saw me walking down the hall, came in and almost immediately said "the baclofen & valium are for muscle spasms from cerebral palsy?" which wasn't noted on my paperwork because there wasn't a line next to "other."


"What's the lamictal for?" I was a little surprised she didn't ask me if I had seizures, as 1 in 3 people with CP do. Maybe that was on the list and I didn't check it

"bipolar." That wasn't listed on the form either, so I had checked both depression and anxiety instead.

The next question she asked me was who my psychiatrist is, and then she asked me how I was doing in respect to that. My physiatrist asked me the same question although the conversation went like this. "J. M---. I have a new one again and I don't like her all that much either." And I got a look, which was fine then, but not the next one, when she asked me how I was doing. Actually, it was really the tone in her voice when she asked me. She has every right to give me all the looks she wants. I didn't name this blog "Uppity Crip" for nothing. She knows half the time she tells me not to do something I do it anyway. Flashback to my Aug appt: "You really should have consulted me before you did that." "I did. I didn't like your answer." :-)

Anyway, the tone in her voice was the same tone I'd gotten that morning. It was as if to say that I'm not capable of doing what I should be doing, that I don't know. It was as if to say that people with this diagnosis don't have the capacity to make responsible, smart decisions. That we're all a mess 100% of the time. PC doc doesn't have a right to make that judgement. The other one knows just how much of a mess I've been over the years, but I'd still like some credit.

I mentioned this to my shrink this afternoon in less words, and she gave me a look. It was a different look. It maybe had a hint of exasperation. So I replied with "I know what I should be doing..." Infer from that what you will, but I do try.

This isn't enough to send me looking for another PC doc, because it was a tone of concern from both of them, not a tone of fear. Not a tone of "all people with this diagnosis are violent," but to me it was still a tone of well meaning prejudice.

Well meaning prejudice, you ask? How can there be such a thing as a well meaning prejudice? Well meaning prejudices are "permissible prejudices," statements or thoughts that are so ingrained in society that they are taken for granted as truth. Mary Johnson does a fantastic job of discussing permissible prejudices as they relate to disability in her book Disability Awareness -- Do it Right! The inferiority of black people used to be a permissible prejudice. Now even racists know that society frowns upon them even if they don't give a damn about it. See this page for the definition of a permissible prejudice as it relates to homophobia. In my google search I noticed people referring to homophobia as the last permissible prejudice. What about prejudices against fat people? What about ableism, which encompasses every disability, including this one? I beg to differ with that blanket statement.

It rubbed me the wrong way, being judged by smart people who I'd hope would know better. But if they really don't know better, if they had no clue they were giving off a vibe, is it really right for me to judge them for judging me? It's what I'm trying to figure out, but I so far have no conclusion. Because if you really know me and you judge me on the basis of me being me, you might be right, even if it doesn't feel good.

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